Metro is dead, but not gone

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 3, 2012
Microsoft, Windows, Windows 8

The term Metro is a controversial one in the Windows world. Some users associate it with Windows 8's new startpage which is a core change to the Windows environment. But Metro is more than that. For Microsoft, it is a design language that it debuted in Windows Phone 7. It offers unique style elements that rely a lot on typography to get the message across.

Yesterday news broke that Microsoft asked its employees to refrain from using the Metro term in applications and communication. Back then it was not really clear why the company suddenly decided to get rid of the Metro term, especially since it had been using it ever since Windows 7 Phone had been released.

According to The Verge, it could be because of a dispute with German company Metro AG which owns two leading electronic store chains in the country (Saturn and Media Markt). Metro AG did not want to "comment on market rumors", while Microsoft responded to an inquiry stating that the name change is not related to any litigation (which means it is still possible that it is related to a copyright dispute that has not yet gone to litigation).


The Microsoft spokesperson added that Metro had been used as a code name "during the product development cycle across many" of the company's products and that Microsoft decided to use a commercial name going forward.

We have used  Metro style as a code name during the product development cycle across many of our product lines. As we get closer to launch and transition from industry dialog to a broad consumer dialog we will use our commercial names.

Another reason for the deemphasizing of Metro-terms is that it is used for a variety of terms. From the startpage of Windows 8 over Metro designs of Office 2013 to Metro apps.  Microsoft seems intent to announce a new name in the coming days.

I have used the term Metro loosely on Ghacks, referring both to the startpage, design and apps as Metro. What's your take on the name change?


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  1. Nebulus said on August 3, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I think that Microsoft is starting to realize that the whole Metro concept will ruin Windows 8 sales for PC and they are trying a rebranding. But it’s no use, they already made too many mistakes and they won’t be able to change them back just by changing a name.

  2. ilev said on August 3, 2012 at 10:03 am

    I understand Metro AG not wanting to be tied with Microsoft’s Fisher Price tiles.

    1. Bill said on August 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      LOL, good one.

      1. Michelle said on August 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm

        “Microsoft’s Fisher Price tiles.”

        I love it,

        Microsoft needs to hire you for public relations.

  3. fokka said on August 3, 2012 at 11:01 am

    i hate metro, no matter what they call it.

  4. Threshold said on August 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Hey Microsoft I will give you a name you can use in place of Metro free of charge: Crapola!™©®

    1. Gerry Rudolph said on August 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      You got that right Threshold. From the starting I’ve been hating this edition of the Windows OS. 7 was far better than this crap. Now just see this I’ve found over the internet that Windows 8 OS final build has been leaked, what a pity of Microsoft:

      1. ilev said on August 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm

        Windows 8 Enterprise N.RTM x64 (European version) leaked to torrent sites. No key needed.

  5. Threshold said on August 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Martin are my comments moderated?

    I don’t know why they don’t get posted immediately.
    I have posted for years and always with the same email address. :(

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm

      Comment moderation is handled automatically by Akismet. Are you missing a comment?

  6. PixelWizard said on August 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    It makes no difference what they rename it. This is a butt-ugly visual style, aesthetically a giant leap backward for mankind.

  7. Mystique said on August 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I do believe Fisher Price will feel offended at the thought of having Windows 8 associated with its products and/or its company.

    Whilst Fisher Price’s slogan is “Play, Laugh, Grow”, Microsoft’s shall be something like Play, Cry, Go.

    I’m appalled at the direction of which Microsoft are attempting to steer Desktop computing.

    I imagine that this OS will need more than a few tweaks to become a reasonably useful desktop OS.

    1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 9:26 am

      My apologies to Fisher Price. Make it Simon Says tiles :-)

  8. Mystique said on August 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    I don’t really think microsoft is in any sort of position to pigeon hole all platforms as a tablet-esque environment, its only going to alienate its user base to the point where they are either going to, refuse to upgrade, install a nix based variant, or attempt to modify windows 8 which may result in more stability issues.

  9. Dave Barnes said on August 3, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    “is still possible that it is related to a copyright dispute”
    Trademark, not copyright.

  10. Marius said on August 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    You know what Microsoft?Put Metro in Windows 8 I don’t care,but don’t force me to use it,us old users know how to downgrade to Windows 7,like others have downgradet to Windows Xp from Vista!

  11. ilev said on August 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Leaked Windows 8 Enterprise N.RTM x64 walkthrough

  12. Morely Dotes said on August 3, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    The new name is the “Fugly Useless UI.”

    You’re welcome.

  13. Gonzo said on August 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    – Kill Silverlight
    – Kill .NET
    – Kill the Win32 API.
    – Kill the desktop.

    They should rename Metro to Monster. That’s exactly what it looks like to me.

    FWIW I just ordered a Raspberry PI. It could well be what the “future desktop” looks like and it cost less than a Win 8 upgrade LOL

  14. berttie said on August 3, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    They should have kept the name and got rid of the tile crap on all but phones and tablets.

  15. Threshold said on August 4, 2012 at 12:14 am

    Hi Martin,

    No I don’t think I do.
    It happened in a post few days ago but i thought I messed up and didn’t care.
    Is this a new thing or am I that distracted? :D

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 12:35 am

      Well I do not really have control over the spam filter as it is handled automatically. Some users experience the same here, that their comments get automatically added to moderation. I usually see those quickly and publish them on the site though. If you ever miss a comment let me know via the comment form please.

      1. ilev said on August 5, 2012 at 9:50 am

        I missed many comments that has site URLs. It seems they were regarded as spam.

  16. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    All Windows 8 and server versions leaked to torrent sites today ;



  17. ilev said on August 5, 2012 at 9:47 am

    So, after Valve’s Gabe Newell, Blizzard’s Rob Pardoand ,Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson, all thinking the Windos 8 is a catastrophe, id Software co-founder and head programmer John Carmack (think Doom, Quake, Rage…) joins the party and said :
    “I would be happy if Windows 8 didn’t actually exist”.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 5, 2012 at 10:17 am

      Well he also admitted that no one is using Windows 8 in the company right now. I can understand that he is happy with Windows 7 – I’m too – but saying that would imply that we would stick with Windows 7 for the rest of our lives. And the XP crowd would even say that XP is the best and that they do not need anything else.

      While I can understand where all this is coming from, new versions is just something that one needs to accept. It does not mean you need to buy it and use it.

      I think it will be interesting to see what the XP users will do when April 2014 comes.

      1. Tom said on August 5, 2012 at 10:34 am

        For users with knowledge about security (like me) it will be a sad day but those will know that they just need to stop using XP. The rest will do the same – nothing, and that will be a big problem (increased malware infections, botnets, etc..)
        Wonder that Microsoft will send an upgrade warning message / offer in 2014 in form of an automatic update just like the way Mozilla did for Firefox 3.6 users this spring. It would be highly useful.

      2. ilev said on August 5, 2012 at 11:47 am

        Microsoft will continue to support XP long after April 2014 , when XP’s market share will still be 25%+ after Enterprise skipping Windows 8, in edition to the 500M Chinese using XP (and IE6) .
        I don’t think the reasons for Windows 8 resentment by gaming developers matter much.
        What matter is that this attitude spread from mouth to ear, just like the resentment to Vista.

        Microsoft made a mistake when not allowing to upgrade from XP to Windows 7 and presented a stupid solution like XP Mode. This is part of the reason why Windows 7, even after 3 years since launch, still trails XP in market share.

      3. Tom said on August 5, 2012 at 12:19 pm

        99% of the 500M XP (and IE6) used in China are actually pirated. Don’t think MS will care of those. I agree that in 2014 XP will still have a 20-25% market share and it will be a problem. I would be suprised of another extend of support though. Technically it would require functional updates (like proper IPv6 support, etc…) as well.

        Beg to differ about “XP Mode”. Virtualization is the greatest and easiest way to retain compatibility and XP mode is actually a very good idea and implementation. OTOH I found that many key IT people at companies have never heard of it so the MS marketing machine is appearently failed in this field. And I agree it’s far from a good substitute of the straight upgrade from XP to 7 rather a tool for running certain incompatible applications. Surely not for the everyday user to set up.

        Anyway, IMO the many reasons why significant amount of people don’t want to upgrade (either XP -> 7 or 7 -> 8) would worth a whole article.

      4. Gonzo said on August 5, 2012 at 11:09 pm

        Martin, I completely disagree with:
        “but saying that would imply that we would stick with Windows 7 for the rest of our lives”
        No, it’s saying the changes made to Win 8 are bad, not needed, or counter productive.
        “new versions is just something that one needs to accept”
        Remember Windows Server? We don’t need to accept it, instead we move to a product that suits our needs. Your responses sounds a bit like someone working for M$.

        The customers (Asus, Dell), users, and developers are not happy with the direction MS is taking Windows. Dell, Asus etc see MS releasing their own branded product as an assault and it’s not a good sign when devs and users agree to boycott your new product.

        Theirs little doubt that Win 8 will fail. The question is will MS listen to their customers, users and developers and make the proper changes to Win 9?

        We don’t want a walled garden (software or hardware), Windows will fail if they force it down our throat, GUARANTEED.

      5. Gonzo said on August 6, 2012 at 12:46 am

        “…but saying that would imply that we would stick with Windows 7 for the rest of our lives”
        No, it implies the changes made to Win 8 are bad, not needed, or worse; hinder devs from producing quality products.

        “…new versions is just something that one needs to accept”
        Remember Windows Server? We don’t need to accept it, instead we (users and devs) move to a platform that suits our needs and the vendors will follow. Sorry but these responses are exactly what I’d expect from an M$ puppet. I’m not implying you are one but I am surprised to see them from you.

        It’s not a good sign when hardware partners see MS releasing their own branded product as an assault, when devs voice their displeasure with the limited access of your new API and users agree to boycott your new product due to a lack of options. The fact that M$ told Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments they could only choose 2 partners each is astounding.

        This backlash isn’t simply “We don’t like the new UI” instead it’s “This walled garden will not be accepted and we’re putting you on notice”.

        With regard to XP and 2014, yes it will be interesting. The corp customer is surely going to take the safe route and move to Windows 7. The “average” home user, who knows. IMO the pirate is the most interesting demographic.

        Let’s be honest, pirates make up a HUGE percentage of Windows users and for obvious reasons Bill Gates has admitted he’d rather people pirate Windows than use an alternative. However, Daz and other reverse engineers have announced they’re not committed to producing loaders for Win 8. Their attitude is “I look into it for fun but I’m not really interested”

        All of this looks like a perfect storm of failure for Windows 8. I really hope M$ gets it together but when I see ads during the Olympics for the 2 year old soon to be replaced IE9 I think “WTF are they sandbagging or have they really lost it!?”

  18. Gonzo said on August 6, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Sorry for the double posts but I thought my first post was filtered/moderated. Like others it’s seems the spam filter is a little aggressive?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 6, 2012 at 11:16 pm

      I can only look for a different anti-spam plugin for WordPress. Will do so in the next couple days, but can’t promise anything.

  19. cezi said on August 11, 2012 at 12:11 am

    Just like Windows users hate enforced new Metro
    Ubuntu users hate new enforced Unity…

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